Seelenzoll

the Story

Here, at the so-called “Seelenzoll” (which literally translates to “Souls customs and duties”), the bodily remains of Schann’s dead were given the opportunity to take one last glimpse of their earthly home. People used the moment to mull over the life’s work of the deceased before the funeral procession continued to Flirsch cemetery, where Schann’s dead were buried until 1921. Before the chapel was built there, it was the site of a cross that reminded those passing to say a prayer for the deceased. According to local legend, neglecting these poor souls would bring disaster. On a dark night in 1839, Eustachius Kerber hurried past the cross to fetch the priest back to Flirsch to baptise the child his wife, Gertrud, née Zangerl had just given birth to. The Kerbers, as most families during these times, were blessed with many children. Some of the infants had died, however, before they could be baptised. Deep in thought about these children, the anxious father imagined he had seen a child’s coffin next to the cross. Full of panic and fear that his newborn could die before being baptised, Eustachius vowed to build a chapel at this very spot if his latest child was granted the grace of baptism. His pious vow was heard and the Kerber family began construction of the chapel, known to this day as the „Seelenzoll“, in the very same year. Rudolf Kathrein, who penned the „Geschichte zur Pfarrkirche zum Hl. Rochus in Schnann – History of St. Rochus Parish Church in Schann“, wrote of a metal plate fixed on the gable end of the chapel embossed with the words: „Save the poor souls from their burning torment! 1844“. This inscription was removed in 1981 and replaced with the following text: „Lord Christ, be merciful to them. Deliver them from Your wrath.“ Paintings in the chapel show Christ’s followers watching, as souls are redeemed from Purgatory by Christ’s death and the Our Lady’s intercession. Finding of the gold treasure (Station: The Golden City) was dramatised by Stefan Hellbert in 2008 in a piece called „Seelenzoll“ , which premiered in an open air performance at the “Wegmacherhaus”.